Speaking the truth in love, we will … grow up. EPHESIANS 4:15 NIV

There are two ways to tell the truth. The “give them a piece of your mind” style, which only drives the wedge deeper. Or the Bible way: “Speaking the truth in love,” which resolves conflict and strengthens relationships. Suppose a couple is fighting because he’s habitually late. How can she speak “the truth in

love” and get her message heard? Here’s a five-step process that’s effective in marriage, friendship or work.

She could say to him: (1) “I feel frustrated.” No blame, no attack; just an honest expression of her own emotion. (2) “When you are late.” No judging, name-calling or labeling; just a concrete description of his action. (3) “It seems to say to me that my time is not really important to you. ” No moralizing; just honestly sharing her feelings. (4) “Please try to be on time, or call and let me know when you’ll be here.” Instead of focusing on past actions he can’t change, she’s telling him what she’d like him to do differently next time. (5) “Would you be willing to do that for me?” No demanding or taking for granted; just asking for consideration and cooperation. When he agrees, they have a “contract.” She thanks him sincerely and rewards every effort he makes to keep his word. She has effectively realigned the couple by making him her ally, not her enemy, and redefined the focus as a shared one, not something she “does to him!” The Bible says we can “walk together” when we have “agreed” to do so (See Am 3:3 NIV).



When the store manager returned from lunch, he noticed his clerk’s hand was bandaged, but before he could ask about the bandage, the clerk said he had some very good news for him.

“Guess what, sir?” the clerk said. “I finally sold that terrible, ugly suit we’ve had so long!”

“Do you mean that repulsive pink-and-blue double-breasted thing?” the manager asked.

“That’s the one!”

“That’s great!” the manager cried, “I thought we’d never get rid of that monstrosity! That had to be the ugliest suit we’ve ever had! But tell me. Why is your hand bandaged?”

“Oh,” the clerk replied, “after I sold the guy that suit, his guide dog bit me.”







Watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. GALATIANS 5:15 NIV

Healthy relationships aren’t conflict free; they’re conflict resolving. The problem is: we fight for victories instead of fighting for solutions. The result is: one wins, one loses, and the relationship suffers! Here are some practical insights for fighting so that the relationship wins:

(1) Differences are inevitable, normal, and potentially beneficial. They’re inevitable, because relationships bring together very different people. They’re normal, because all relationships, including great ones, realizing experience them. They’re potentially beneficial, because handled effectively, relationships

grow through them. (2) Here are three conflicting handling styles: (a) The avoid style. These are the “don’t want to rock the boat” and “let sleeping dogs lie” people. They fear confrontation, so they bury their feelings, not they’re buried alive and will rise again down the road. They go from clam-up,

to build-up, to blow-up, inviting physical and emotional illness.

Meanwhile offenses accumulate, unaddressed issues multiply, and unfinished business erodes the relationship. (b) The attack style. These are the “get them before they get you” people; ruthless fighters who refuse to give in, they inflict terminal wounds on each other. The Bible says, “If you keep on biting

and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Attack begets counterattack, both sides “dig in” and nothing gets resolved. (c) The approach-assert style. These

are the “no price is too high for a good relationship” people. They’re sensitive to the feelings of others, yet insist on dealing directly with important issues. They avoid blaming, confront the issue, not the individual, and invite others to partner with them in solving the problem and saving the relationship!



​Sunday school teacher to a class of young boys–“Who went into the lion’s den and came out unhurt.”​Answer–“Tarzan!” …


​The president of a company is interviewing a prospective secretary.

President: We’re looking for someone who can do the work of six men.

Woman applicant: That’s a shame, I was looking for a full-time position. …



Love others as much as you love yourself. MATTHEW 22:39 CEV

Only by loving yourself in a healthy way, can you love others the way God intended. When you don’t love yourself you live with insecurity, and you keep looking to others for approval. When you don’t get it, your self-worth shrivels. As a result, you live far beneath your potential. You are the only person you can’t get away from, so unless you learn to accept yourself, you’ll be miserable. Stop and think about the last time you were around somebody you didn’t enjoy being with-how did it feel?

Whether good or bad, you project onto others the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself. So if you want people to think well of you, have a good opinion of yourself- one that’s based on God’s Word and nurtured by the right relationships. No question, the Bible cautions us about having an overinflated opinion of ourselves. But don’t go to the other extreme! Living with continual self-rejection is an open invitation to Satan, who is always “sneaking around to find someone to attack” (IPe 5:8 CEV). Don’t play into his hands!

Paul writes: “Nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature” (Ro 7:18 NIV). That means the good qualities you do possess, are evidence that God is at work in your life. So be sure to acknowledge them. The Bible says, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be

of God, and not of us” (2Co 4:7). Instead of focusing on your flaws and feeling bad about yourself, recognize the “treasure” of God’s presence, power, and potential that lives within you, and build on it.



​A fellow was playing golf with his priest, and he noticed that before every shot the priest would say a prayer.

“Father, would it help me to pray?”

“No. I’m afraid not.”

“But why?”

“Because you are a terrible putter.”






Bring … (the whole tenth of your income). MALACHI 3:10 AMP

Whether you believe tithing to be an Old Testament law or a New Testament truth, one thing is certain, giving God the first tenth of your income demonstrates that He’s first in your life. To those who practice tithing, God promises two things:

(1) His blessing. God said He will “Open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (Mal 3:10 NKJV). A fanner, who was a faithful tither, was prospering while others around him were barely getting by. When one of his neighbors asked, “What’s your secret?” he replied, “No secret, I just shovel it into God’s bin and He shovels it back into mine-but God’s got a bigger shovel!” By tithing, you partner with God. Think what God’s blessing could mean to your business, your family, your ministry or your future=-your possibilities are out of sight!

(2) His protection. “I will rebuke the devourer … he shall not destroy” (Mal3:11). “What’s the devourer?” you ask. Anything that devours your blessings. The dishwasher breaks down for the third time in a month. The kids are ill and have to be taken to the doctor all the time. The day after the warranty runs

out on your car, the transmission goes. One of the Hebrew words for tithe is charam, which means “marked for destruction.” Your tithe literally becomes a force in the hand of God to destroy the works of the enemy. It puts a hedge of protection around you. “Is God after my money?” you ask. No, He’s after

your lack! He wants you to be blessed and protected every day of your life.



At a dinner party, several of the guests were arguing whether men or women were more trustworthy. No woman, said one man, scornfully, can keep a secret.

I don’t know about that, answered a one of the ladies who was listening in on the conversation. I have kept my age a secret since I was twenty-one, she said with pride.

You’ll let it out some day, the man insisted.

I hardly think so responded this lady. “When a woman has kept a secret for twenty-seven years, she can keep it forever.”




You have taken off your old self .. · and have put on the new self. COLOSSIANS 3:9-10 NIV

Some of us are perfectionists when it comes to our physical appearance, yet we think nothing of running around spiritually threadbare. We’re more concerned with how we look to others, than how we look to God. What’s the answer? Spend more time in front of the mirror! James writes: “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does” (Jas 1:23-25 NIV).

Your old carnal clothes must be discarded, not hung in the closet for the next time you want to wear them. Your focus each day must be to “Clothe [yourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about bow to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Ro 13:14 NIV). Chuck Swindol says: “The number

one enemy of change is the hard-core, self-sustained sin nature within you. Like a spoiled child it’s been gratified and indulged for years, so it won’t give up without a temper tantrum. The flesh dies a slow, bitter, bloody death-kicking and struggling all the way. Lasting change takes place in first gear, not overdrive. So expect occasional setbacks, and don’t let them derail you. When you feel like throwing in the towel, get down on your knees and ask God to help you get back on track. He’ll do it.”



“Dad, will you be able to get me a car?” Asked the boy, having just passed his driving test.

“I suppose a car would be in order if you can raise your grades from C’s to B’s, you study your Bible, and cut your hair.” Replied the father.

After contemplating for many hours, the boy decided it was a good and fair compromise. Six weeks later, the father is astonished. His son was excelling in school, he studied his Bible every day, but his hair was still long and shaggy.

“I am very impressed with you” said the father “you are passing all of your classes, and you read the Bible every day. But why won’t you cut your hair?”

“After reading the Bible, I have noticed something.” Said the boy “Moses, Samson, and Absalom all had Long hair. There is even evidence that Jesus may have had long hair!”

​The father replied back “Did you also notice how they had to walk everywhere too?”



Love the Lord your God with all your heart. DEUTERONOMV 6:5 NIV

Modern life is custom made for role playing. We live in a neighborhood all our lives yet we hardly know the family next door. We commute to a church miles away, walking in and out, never getting known, never getting involved or serving. We work with one crowd and play with another. The opportunities for undercover activity are almost limitless. Since no one knows us in any other context, we can reinvent ourselves in each one. Someone has said that our life is like a chest of drawers: a separate one for each interest, value or pastime- one for work, one for play and one for church. For each we have a separate set of values and a different language. With each new situation we add another drawer to ensure complete appropriateness and safety. Rather than having a oneness and integrity of character, we role play.

But God doesn’t see us as a cbest of drawers or a collection of separate performances, He sees us as a whole person. Who we are when no one is looking, is just the same to Him as who we are when we’re standing in plain view. God asks for integrity in our lives. That’s because life doesn’t work any other way! God made us with one will, one mind, one heart, and one spirit. It’s Satan’s lie that we can “have it both ways,” which leaves us mentally and emotionally fragmented, and worse – distant from God! “What is the answer?” you ask. The Bible says: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength.” In other words, refuse to role play!



Tom had this problem of getting up late in the morning and was always late for work.

His boss was mad at him and threatened to fire him if he didn’t do something about it. So Tom went to his doctor who gave him a pill and told him to take it before he went to bed.​

Tom slept well and in fact beat the alarm in the morning. He had a leisurely breakfast and drove cheerfully to work.

 “Boss,” he said, “The pill actually worked!”

“That’s all fine” said the boss. “But where were you yesterday?” ..



Grace was given me. EPHESIANS 3:8 NIV

The word “grace,” is so important that Paul mentions it three times more than any other writer. Remembering the violent life he lived, he writes, “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach … the unsearchable riches of Christ.” The word grace comes from the Greek word charts, meaning “pure joy.” Although you didn’t deserve it, God considered saving you a “pure joy.”

How about that? In John, chapter 8, a woman is caught in the act of adultery. The law is unmistakable about her punishment. The Pharisees are ready to stone her. She knows that Jesus, being righteous, must agree. She has no lawyer to defend her, not even a character witness! Suddenly Jesus stoops and begins to write in the sand. Some scholars have suggested that perhaps He wrote down their sins, times, places, etc. Ouch! When He looks up, her accusers are gone. J:-Ie says, “Neither do I condemn you … Go now and leave your life of sin” On 8:11 NIV). Jesus lifted her from a position of undeniable guilt to one of unconditional pardon. She didn’t deserve it, and didn’t know it was possible. And that’s your story too, isn’t it? One day Abraham Lincoln watched a plantation owner bidding for a slave girl. Figuring he was going to buy her and abuse her, Lincoln paid the price to set her free. “Does this mean I can say hatever I want to say?” she asked. Lincoln replied, “Yes.” Again she asked, “Does this mean I can go wherever I want to go?” Again Lincoln responded, “Yes, you’re free!” With tears streaming down her face she replied, “Then, sir, I will go with you.” That’s grace!



There was a little old lady who was nearly blind.

She had three sons and they wanted to prove which one was the best son to her.

So son #1 bought her a 15-room mansion thinking this would surely be the best any of them could offer her.

Son #2 bought her a beautiful Mercedes with a chauffeur included thinking he would surely win her approval.

Son #3 had to do something even better than these so he bought her a trained parrot. This parrot had been trained for 15 years to memorize the entire Bible. You could mention any verse in the Bible and the parrot could quote it word for word. How useful his nearly blind mother would find that!

Well, the old lady went to the first son and said, “Son, the house is just gorgeous but it’s really much too big for me. I only live in one room, and it’s much too large for me to clean and take care of. I really don’t need the house, but thank you anyway.”

Then she explained to her second son, “Son, the car is beautiful, it has everything you could ever want on it, but I don’t drive and I really don’t like that driver, so please return the car.”

​Next, she went to son number three and said, “Son, I just want to thank you for that thoughtful gift. The chicken was small, but delicious.”




The Lord longs to be gracious to you  Isaiah 30: 18 NIV

On December 31st the clock strikes midnight ushering in another New Year. Three hundred and sixty-five days to fan the flames of your unfilled hopes and dreams. A new beginning. A gift full of promise. But you must accept it, unwrap it and use it. Not everybody does. Maybe you dread what the New Year holds; retirement, the empty nest, chronic illness, unemployment, life without a loved one. Well, God loves to take people at the end of their rope and set them on the road to peace, joy and victory. He’s the expert at drying tears, calming fears, injecting courage into anxious hearts and removing the sting of old memories. He “make[s] all things new” (Rev 21:5). But He never leads you back, just forward. Listen: “The Lord longs to be gracious to you.” What do you want to see happen this year? Does it include owning your own business? Losing some weight? Reuniting with your family? Only you can complete the question, “What if I could … ?” because you alone know what makes your heart leap. Stephen Covey says, “Begin … with the image of the end of your life as your frame of reference … Each day will then contribute to the vision you have of your life as a whole.” Seek God. Determine your goals. Write them down, then release the outcome to Him who “longs to be gracious to you.” To be gracious means “to show favor.” The desire of God’s heart is that you walk in His grace and favor every day of this year.



New Year’s Resolutions

I was going to quit all my bad habits for the new year, but then I remembered that nobody likes a quitter.

My wife still hasn’t told me what my New Year’s resolutions are.

A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.

New Year’s is just a holiday created by calendar companies who don’t want you reusing last year’s calendar.



The righteous keep moving forward. JOB 17:9 NLT said, “Procrastination is the thief of time,” was

right. We keep postponing, promising ourselves we’ll do better. Be honest, how many of last year’s resolutions did you keep? This year do things differently. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. In other words, make them:

Specific: Get up earlier in order to read your Bible and pray before going to work. Make time for your family. Exercise. Eat right. Take care of your body; it’s God’s temple (See 1 Cor 6:19-20).

Moderate: Tackling more than one project at a time dilutes your focus and makes it harder to stick with. When you start too much you finish too little. Start small and build on your successes by mastering and maintaining one thing at a time (See Php 3:13).

Achievable: Don’t try to swallow the whole elephant in one bite. Baby steps are the name of the game. Talk in terms of what you will do instead of what you won’t. For example, instead of saying, “I’m not going to be so critical,” say, “Today I’m going to look for something good in everybody I meet” (See

Php 4:8).

Recordable: You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Documenting your progress (or lack of it!) makes you accountable, shows how far you’ve come and what you need to work on.

Time-specific: Review your goals weekly (or daily if you’re struggling). That way you can trouble-shoot early, and change direction when necessary. The Bible says, “Throw yourself into your tasks so … everyone will see your progress” (l Ti 4:15 NLT). Come on, make up your mind, get up off the couch and go for it!



Mugger: “This is a holdup! Give me your money or else!”

Victim: “Or else what?”

Mugger: “Don’t confuse me. This is my first holdup. ..


​​To err is human, but it takes a computer to really mess things up. …



Be ready in season and out of season. 2 TIMOTHY 4:2 NIV

We live our lives in seasons, and seasons have beginnings and endings. So, diversity is the key to longevity. If you don’t understand that you can lose your sense of purpose, because when one season is over you’ve nothing left to carry with you into the next. That’s why successful fanners keep rotating their crops. They plant corn in one field, then when it goes out of season they plow that field and let it rest. At the same time they’re busy elsewhere harvesting alfalfa to make hay, after which that field goes through the same process. In spring they change the order of things so the field where corn once grew now produces alfalfa, and so forth.

When Paul told Timothy, “Be ready in season and out of season,” he was encouraging him to broaden his spiritual horizons. In Timothy’s case he needed to understand there’s a time to correct people, and a time to comfort them (See 2Ti 4:25 NKJV). Timing is so important. The Psalmist compared the blessed man to “a tree … which yields .. .fruir in season” (Ps 1:3 NIV). To succeed, you must recognize what season you are in!

And you must also understand that God is more concerned with the depth of your roots than the height of your branches; more interested in quality than quantity. With God “the quality goes in, before the name goes on.” That’s why He takes your struggles and uses them to cultivate the kind of soil (and soul)

necessary to produce good fruit. And one more thing: From time to time He will permit storms to blow away those people and things that hinder what He’s working to produce in you.



Getting away from their high-stress jobs, a couple spends relaxing weekends in their motor home.

When they found their peace and quiet disturbed by well-meaning, but unwelcome, visits from other campers, they devised a plan to assure themselves some privacy.

Now, when they set up camp, they place this sign on the door of their RV:

“Insurance agent. Ask about our term-life package.”


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